The New York Rangers took a massive loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night by a final score of 6–2. The Blueshirts were heavily outmatched as the Senators derailed the league-leading Rangers. Perhaps the best player for Ottawa last night was Vladimir Tarasenko, a name New Yorkers are quite familiar with.
Last season, the Rangers acquired Tarasenko just before the NHL trade deadline. He performed well in his first few games with the team, but the spotlight was quickly shifted when the Blueshirts also traded for future HHOF winger Patrick Kane.
Tarasenko went on to have a solid showing with the team until they were eliminated from the playoffs, where he then signed with Ottawa at the start of free agency. The Rangers are once again in desperate need of a right winger, and with Kane officially off the table, the Blueshirts could look to reunite with Tarasenko at some point this season.
The Senators will likely be sellers at this year’s trade deadline
As of now, the Senators are the last-place team in the Atlantic Division with a .500 record of 10-10-0. The chances of them making a push for the playoffs are not out of the picture just yet but are slim. If their projected finish doesn’t change over the next few months, the Senators could very well look to move some of their pieces at this season’s trade deadline.
Tarasenko seems like a prime candidate to be shipped off to a Stanley Cup contender. He’s a veteran forward who’s had a solid performance in Ottawa’s first 20 games of the season, as he is close to a point per game with 17 to his name. For a team still looking to rebuild, the Senators might want to move Tarasenko for some prospects or draft picks.
Tarasenko’s contract adds to his trade likeliness. He signed with the Senators on a one-year deal, a short contract with a semi-reasonable cap hit of $5 million. Contenders will be looking for rentals around the trade deadline, and Tarasenko seems to be just that.
The Rangers are in desperate need of a top-six winger
One of the only holes in the Rangers’ lineup is their right-wing position. Alexis Lafreniere has been the only consistent RW in the top nine this season, with Blake Wheeler and Kaapo Kakko not reaching expectations. And to add even more fuel to the fire, Kakko is now out on the IR long-term.
If the Rangers are going to attempt to bolster their lineup for a playoff push, seeking out a new winger for their first line needs to be the priority. There will be many players to look at, but Tarasenko should undoubtedly be in the conversation. He’s a successful forward with the skills to help out the top six, and he has some familiarity with the city of New York.